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Theory of Mind / Father and Divorce Labs (Fabricius)

Keywords: theory of mind; social cognitive development; divorce; fathers; parent-child relationships

Lab Research Area:

Theory of Mind                                  

The Theory of Mind Lab is working to solve a potentially serious, but overlooked, problem with the standard tasks used to assess young children's understanding of false beliefs. These same tasks have been used to study theory of mind in infants and chimpanzees. The problem is that a confound in the tasks makes the interpretation of correct answers ambiguous and obscures a developmentally intermediate way of reasoning about the mind.  The resolution of this problem will have theoretical implications for how children's theory of mind develops and for how theory of mind has evolved, and practical implications for interventions with autistic individuals.   Other theory of mind topics include young children’s early linguistic references to mental states, and school-age children’s and high schoolers’ understanding of the interpretative nature of mental processes and how that relates to their understanding of conflict and their aggressive behavior. 

Father & Divorce

We are particularly interested in the impact of father-child relationships on the long-term health of the children and have been conductin research in the NIH-funded longitudinal study of the role of fathers and stepfathers in adolescent and emerging adult development. In other projects with divorced families, we also study the long-term effects of the father-child relationship, parent conflict, and visitation arrangements on children. Dr. Fabricius is focused on the implications this research can have for social policy, and is involved at the state level in shaping domestic relations policy where he serves as Chair of the Ad Hoc Custody WorkGroup. http://www.azcourts.gov/cscommittees/AdHocCustodyWorkgroup.aspx.

Lab Director & Principal Investigator: William Fabricius, PhD, Associate Professor

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